Anna wears many hats: writer, mother, crafter. Over the years, she has found what works and what doesn't for herself and her family.
Alicia Bradley, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC)
What Is Child Abuse?
Child abuse is ANY harm done to a child by someone responsible for the care of that child. Abuse may be a singular incident or a pattern of behavior. It can take place anywhere, from a child's home, day care center or home day care to a school or church. An abuser can be just about anyone from a parent or other family member to a child-care provider, scout leader, teacher, or any other adult that the child is in the care of.
The definitions of abuse tend to vary from state to state, but most laws cover four main types of abuse. They are:
- Physical Abuse: Physical harm to a child such as hitting, kicking, etc.
- Sexual Abuse: Anything of a sexual nature involving a child.
- Emotional Abuse: Damage done to a child's emotional state.
- Neglect: Failure to provide for the basic needs of a child. (i.e., withholding food or medical care)
Sometimes, these forms of abuse are found alone, but more often than not, they are found in a combination of more than one type of abuse. For example, a child who is physically abused is often emotionally abused or neglected as well. Or a child may be being beaten and belittled, combining physical and emotional abuse.
The Warning Signs of Child Abuse
Unexplained or frequent bruises
Torn, stained, or bloody underwear
Difficulty walking or sitting
Bruising or trauma to the genital or anal area
Lack of proper dental and health care
The child complains of itching or pain of the genital area
Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather conditions
Acting in an oversexualized manner
Signs of Physical Abuse
Signs of physical abuse are often the most easily recognized. Physical abuse is also the most commonly thought of form of abuse when someone mentions child abuse. Therefore, it is the one that is most often reported on.
Easily recognized signs that a child is being physically abused are:
- Unexplained or frequent bruises
Read More From Wehavekids
- Broken bones
Bruises, cuts and broken bones in various stages of healing show a long-standing pattern of abuse.
Now, children do get cuts and bruises. Especially physically active children. It is all a part of being a kid, but there is often a clear difference between normal bruises and suspicious bruises.
Normal bruising areas on a child are:
A child will fall off of their bike and scrape up their knees and hands. This is normal, and not a cause for concern. However, bruising on non-bony parts of the body can indicate that the child has been abused.
Suspicious bruising areas are:
- The face
- Upper legs
- The backs of the legs
It is much harder for a child to bruise themselves in these areas through normally occurring accidents. That is not to say that it is impossible, and does not mean that any bruise in these areas is considered as abuse.
I recall my time working in childcare, where we had a small child who was just getting the hang of walking and fell down quite often. On several occasions, she fell on her bottom and landed on something in her way. It, once or twice, resulted in bruises on her bottom from the fall. My own daughter has done the same thing. Just be aware that there are normal bruises, and there are also not so normal bruises.
Behavioral Signs of Physical Abuse
There are other signs of physical abuse are harder to see, and they require attention. If a child seems frightened of a parent or caregiver, or cries when they are around, that child may have good reason to fear that person. Behavioral changes such as lashing out, hitting, biting, or withdrawal are also signs that a child may be being abused. A child may even tell you that he or she has been hurt by a parent or other caregiver. This may be the child reaching out for help. The child may have just received a spanking. Some see spanking as a useful form of discipline, while others see it as abuse. It is not often viewed as abuse in the eyes of the law. Also, pay attention to how the child responds when you ask them how they got those bruises in the first place. If they respond with some automatic answer or seem nervous and anxious answering, that may be a giveaway that they have been physically abused.
Accidental Bruising Areas
Non-Accidental Bruising Areas
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Sadly, sexual abuse of children is far too common. It occurs in many forms, from exposing a child to inappropriate situations or images, to fondling, rape, and sodomy. It is fairly recognizable in most of the more extreme cases, but far too often, it goes unreported.
Some of the more obvious signs that a child has been sexually abused are:
- Torn, stained, or bloody underwear
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Bruising or trauma to the genital or anal area
- The child complains of itching or pain of the genital area
These are relatively clear-cut signs that a child may have been sexually abused in some way.
Behavioral Signs of Sexual Abuse
Other signs show up in a child's behavior. A sexually abused child may act out in an overly sexual manner or engage in highly sexualized play. They often act in an overly mature manner, or, in other words, act more like an adult than they should. They may be unwilling to participate in activities, or be withdrawn, or exhibit poor self-esteem. Additionally, the child may act inappropriately around other adults: struggling with understanding appropriate boundaries is another sign that they may have been sexually abused.
Again, a child may tell you that they have been sexually abused, though they may not always know that that is what has happened to them. They may tell you that daddy touched them, or that their scout leader asked them to do inappropriate things. It is difficult for children to come forward when they have been sexually abused. They often don't understand what has been done to them, or they don't have the words to tell you. They often feel shame, or feel that the person did it because they 'loved them.' Sexual abuse is very difficult for children to understand and to come to terms with.
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is by far the hardest to recognize, the most socially accepted, and the most difficult to prove. Many things that are, in truth, emotional abuse, are far too often ignored. It should not be that way, because emotional abuse has a very real, lasting effect on a child's self-worth, and should be taken seriously.
As I said, emotional abuse is the hardest to recognize. The signs manifest in behavior. A child may exhibit extremes in behavior from extreme aggression to extreme passivity. A child who is emotionally abused may have unexplained delays in physical or emotional development, including speech disorders or habit disorders such as sucking or biting.
They often act in ways that are uncharacteristic of a child of their age. They may either act overly mature or overly immature. They may engage in antisocial or destructive behavior. They may often parrot the behavior of the abuser; calling kids names, bullying, or doing other things to emotionally harm others.
Emotional abuse is hard to recognize, so I am including some forms of emotional abuse for information purposes. I did not feel the need to do so for the other forms, because they are more clear-cut, and more well known.
Emotional abuse includes:
- Ignoring the child's emotional needs
It can also include cruel restrictions or punishments that do not involve physical harm, such as tying a child to a chair for running around in the house or overly shaming a child for wetting his or her pants.
Psychological unavailability is also emotionally abusive to a child. Refusing to talk to a child, not showing love or affection towards the child, and leaving a child with an unfamiliar and uncaring caregiver are examples of psychological unavailability.
Also, allowing the psychological needs, or difficulties, of a child to go untreated falls into emotional abuse. You are not meeting the needs of the child. Failure to seek treatment for a child after recommendations to have the child assessed, evaluated, or treated for emotional problems is not only furthering the emotional abuse; it is also neglectful.
Verbal abuse is the most common, and most socially accepted type of abuse. It falls in line with emotional abuse. It is verbal violence against a child, and it is WRONG! Taunting, humiliation, or deliberate frightening of a child is damaging to the child's self-worth. I can't count the times I have been in a store and have heard a parent tell a child to behave, or they were going to leave them in the store. In my time working at a daycare, I heard every horrible thing you can imagine. Parents who called their children all kinds of mean names, even some of a profane nature, parents who threatened children, other caregivers who humiliated children for wetting their pants while the child was potty training. It was enough to make me sick.
Emotional abuse is rarely reported as abuse. It is hard to prove, and except in extreme cases, not really seen as abuse. When people think of abuse, they think of the other three forms of abuse, and see emotional abuse as more of a side product of one of the other forms of abuse. While this is often the case, it is not the rule. A child can be emotionally abused without a caregiver ever laying a finger on them.
Signs of Neglect
A child who is neglected is deprived of the very things a child needs to survive. What do we all need to survive? Food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare. These are the types of things a child who is neglected is often deprived of.
A child who is neglected often is lacking proper medical or dental care or is not up to date on their immunizations. I know that there has been a lot of attention lately about the safety of immunizations, and some parents are refusing to immunize their children. That is different. They feel that they are acting in the interests of their children, not neglecting to give them what they need. Do I agree with all of the parents who refuse to get their children immunized? No, but that is neither here, nor there. I do understand that they feel they are acting in the best interests of their children. That is not neglect.
A child who is neglected is constantly hungry, dirty, or lacks sufficient clothing for the weather conditions. They may resort to stealing food or clothing. They often have poor hygiene. If a parent forgets to send a jacket along with the child to school, on the off chance that the day might be chilly, that is usually of no concern, but if a child is out in the cold, on a winter day with no coat, that is a problem.
I recall when I was working daycare, there was one child who frequently came to school wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts in the horrible heat of the desert summer. Her hair was often very dirty, and she had a chronic problem with lice. This child was obviously being neglected. She was wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather, she was not getting bathed, and her medical needs (the lice) were not being taken care of.
Premature competence is a very particular form of neglect, in which a very young child is made to take on roles and responsibilities that are not appropriate for a child of that age. For example, a six-year-old child being responsible for the care of a two-year-old sibling in the evenings while a parent is away from the house. Or a young child being forced to take on all of the household responsibilities, including making dinner and cleaning the house. I do feel that chores are important for children so that they learn a sense of responsibility for the mess they make, but a young child should not be expected to basically fend for themselves.
The direct victim of the abuse is often seen as the only victim, but that is not always the case. Even if a child is never touched, the abuse still hurts that child. A child seeing his or her brother or sister being beaten is still affected by that abuse. A child knowing that a friend or sibling has been raped or sexually abused is still a victim of that abuse. That child is still scarred by that abuse.
Child abuse is a devastating issue in this country. News stories of the sex scandals in the Catholic church, stories of children being beaten and killed, stories of Shaken Baby Syndrome and it's devastating effects. Abuse is everywhere. The saddest thing I have learned is that laws protecting animals from abuse were in effect long before there were ever laws protecting children from abuse.
In the late 1800's, there was a child named Mary Ellen. She was horribly abused by the adults in charge of her care. Friends and neighbors tried to help her but learned that there were no laws against the abuse or neglect of children. They had to go to the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals!!
The NYSPCA took their case to court and argued that humans, including children, were in essence, animals, and therefore, deserving of protection under the laws against cruelty to animals. The court agreed. From that time on, every state has enacted laws protecting children from abuse and neglect. It is hard to believe that animals were safe from abuse, yet children were not.
What to Do if You Suspect Child Abuse
If you believe that the child is in imminent danger, do not hesitate to contact child protective services. However, some cases of child abuse are not as clear-cut and require a more balanced approach. Don't just confront the parent outright and accuse them of wrongdoing. Approach the situation from a place of caring and understanding. The parent may be struggling with work, overwhelmed with parenthood, or dealing with their own mental health issues. Offering help and support is a good way to go about the situation.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2008 Anna Marie Bowman
Tracy callahan on August 16, 2020:
I feel lost right now I have done everything in my power to protect my children from their father and to no avail I have received absolutely no help for them. My son's school counselor even reported their father for neglect and abuse and nothing was done about it my son is forced to be friends with the neighborhood bullies who also posted a video of him on YouTube I didn't even know about the video until a couple days ago and it had been circulating for 10 months and his father knew about it and did absolutely nothing you can even hear the children taunting my son telling him your dad isn't going to do anything anyway and you should have seen the Despair and my son's face in that video my son is on the low end of the autism spectrum and also has Tourette syndrome my daughter is involved as well my son will be 12 and my daughter just turned nine they have been subjected to the boys in the neighborhood bullying and taunting them they talk to my daughter about sexually explicit things which I have proof she's been Googling on her cell phone that I purchased her I have reported everything to CYS they have spoken to my children her father has forced her to go back into her urinated bed and sleep in it.( which for the first time this evening on speakerphone with me and my children he admitted to sending her back in her room but he explained or shall I say diverted blame saying that he worked two jobs and he was half asleep and that he apologized to her the next day) but my daughter has been complaining about the same thing about her father for a very long time now my son has also been complaining about the bullied in the neighborhood and I would ask their father about it and he would deny it but when I seen the video proof with my own eyes it was very clear to me that my son's needs we're being neglected. He lives with his mother and my son was forced to go to school 3 to 4 days in a row extremely sick sweating had to lay his head down on the desk the school contacted his father and told him he should not be bringing him back the next day and he continued on bringing him back my daughter stated that Daddy sent Caden to school because Grandma Jan did not want to get sick I was informed to the entire class was sick after my son was there and even some of the staff members in the class were sick as well. She still has problems with that eye. I have been on video chat numerous times with my son with his father screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs I have caught him in lie after lie gas like my children trying to make them believe that what is happening to them isn't really happening to them and that I am coercing them into saying things but I have three cell phones worth of text messaging proof from my children. He put my daughter on bedwetting medicine without my consent he didn't even ask me about it or talk to me about it the two major side effects to that we're rapid weight gain and migraine headaches with she had both I removed her from the medicine and she stopped wetting the bed in her headaches went away she's also lost 6 pounds since she has been with me these children are begging not to go back with their father they're having panic attacks they can't sleep at night they're in my bed every night they have separation anxiety from me even if I go out to the car they follow me. I have a lawyer you can't seem to do anything about it besides we just have to go to trial but in the meantime my children are suffering tremendously there is so much more to this story and there are so many children like my children who fall through the cracks of the system because they're not being punched in the face and there are no bruises being left but the damage that has been done to them is going to take a very long time for me to try to reverse and to know that they continue to have to put up with it is tearing me apart inside I wish somebody could help me could help my children I want to go to the news station about it but they probably think I was just crazy and I understand about a custody trial that the judge doesn't know if I'm lying or he's lying but in the meantime my children are suffering on a daily basis my children have been with me for two and a half months here in Florida and I was ordered by the judge to send them back until the trial because my ex manipulated the court system in his favor. They resent their father from keeping them from me when they know that I am a good loving mother and he is doing this out of spite and hatefulness towards me for leaving him but I had very good reasons to do so. He has alienated me from them try to stop me from seeing them from calling them my children's bond with me is so strong that they are not scared of him anymore and tell him flat out that they don't care what he says that they can't wait to speak to the judge so they can tell the judge the truth and tell the judge that they want to be placed back with their mother where they belong I just imploding inside because my job is to protect them but I never thought I'd have to protect them from their own father he has left them home by themselves he has left them around the neighborhood by themselves when my daughter was only 7 years old they're not even allowed to keep photos up of me and them and their bedrooms because it bothers the father's girlfriend they are not allowed to speak to me on the phone on their cell phones that I purchase them while they are at her house because he told me my voice bothers her he has cheated on me and left me and the children twice it is 6 time convicted felon this feels like a nightmare that's never going to end I feel like the people that are supposed to be protecting him and his sister aren't doing anything about it and just brushing it off and basically say well you have a trial and it'll all come out in the trial okay but to at what expense of my children? Verbal and emotional abuse should be treated just as badly as physical abuse and the only reason CYS found my daughter's physical abuse case unfounded is because nobody took her to the hospital the night her father drug her up the stairs by her arms backwards but my son was a witness to it and he is going to be 12 years old and he is mentally competent that should have been proof enough combined with the fact that they made very clear to anybody that would listen to them that they do not want to be with their father that they were supposed to be with me I've always had my children and because he manipulated the court system he basically has all the control now until we go to trial I have not only paid for one lawyer but I have paid for 2 so I have not spend thousands of dollars that could have went to my children's college fund or their first vehicle there's so much more but there's only 8,000 characters I wish somebody could just tell me that there was a way to stop all of this to help protect my children until the trial and then when it all comes out in the wash I could say see I told you my children were telling the truth I was also verbally and emotionally abused as a child so I know the symptoms this is just a nightmare.
Michael Hernandez on July 27, 2020:
My son stay with her mother and stepfather . My self and his mother broke up after a 10 year relationship. My son tells me he is scared of his mother because she locks him in the bathroom for a long time. I wish and em working on doing my best to help him being that she likes to fabricate lies and being that for a long time i never spoke up makes her seem like she is the one telling the truth.
i not allowed to say on June 04, 2020:
my sisters abuse me and it hurts the yell scream and use me as a punching bag but i love them too much to seek help what do i do
marie on May 28, 2020:
I have a friend and her fake name is carol, carols dad laughs when she cry and always call her fat. the parent sits there and enjoys her crying and the parent is very strict and only cares about and object. my friend does not want to tell anyone and if she tells her mom she does not believe carol. carol has only told me and my there friend bob and I don't know if this is normal or not. she is way to scared to tell a cunsler or therapist and I don't know whether to tell my parents to get help or not even though she said not to
Alexander on February 15, 2020:
To be honest the problem with so many kids is the fact that these pages exist... The whole emotional abuse portion is pretty much saying "unless you child never cries ever you're abusing your child emotionally." Saying no to your crying or complaining children is NOT child abuse. It's called not being an empowering parent. If you give in to everything the kid cries for or complains about you are doing much more harm for the future than simply yelling at the child. That's the truth you can get offended if you want.
Mary on February 09, 2020:
My daughter say that her father is being physical emotional abusive
Vusi on February 08, 2020:
Hi there,I'm a father to a baby girl age 11 and she's staying with her mother and stepfather,and I'm divorced with the mother.
So the Child doesn't like to stay with that stepfather and the mother just took the Child back to me and she hasn't been attending school for a Week now and they are staying in Johannesburg and I'm in Durban ,but the sister agreed with her granny that she must go back to her mother in Johannesburg and they are in Johannesburg now but they called me to tell me that my Daughter doesn't want to apologise cos she was rude when the mother took her back on Monday morning,
Pls can I have an Advise
NC Grandma on January 29, 2020:
My granddaughters told me and their mom what their dad and other grandmother have done to them. I reported each to the police and DSS with my daughter!
A four year old has NO WAY to make up the finger action of her dad on her genitals; yet that’s what they all said—because it came out in the middle of the dad pleading for visitation after it was denied, they said they felt that I told her to say it! Disgusting!
They manipulated detectives into believing our passionate desire to keep the girls safe were signs that we were lying. DSS dismissed evidence from a third grandmother’s text (my daughter’s ex-father-in-law is remarried) wherein she found genital bruising on the first day after picking my sweet granddaughter up from her father when they took her camping. After the trip, my daughter took her to the doctors; bruising was gone but she had a UTI!!!
A guardian ad litem was chosen —he talked to the dad and grandmother at length—never interviewed me—interviewed my daughter fora few minutes approving her house, but decided the sociopaths were being truthful!
I would, also, never trust CPS ever again! When other calls came in to their office regarding suspicion about the dad’s actions, DSS told my daughter that she was building “points” against her because even though complaints were about him, living in two separate counties and the girls living with her meant points against her! If anyone else called, they would be forced to take away the girls!!! Crazy!!! The agent then threatened my daughter’s nursing license and then proceeded to interrogate the girls. Unqualified nasty women who weren’t even legally supposed to interview the four year old frightened them so much that when the police trained counselors interviewed the her, she didn't tell.
This man already got by with seven years of mentally, physically, and sexually abusing my daughter, got away with sexually abusing his step sister for four years, and got away with having sex with a horse! Now, he’s getting away with touching both daughter’s genitals and anal passages!
His mother has smacked the girls across the face and left bruises! The court and CPS do not care! They have forced the girls to see their dad, kicking and screaming! Because my daughter has physical custody, they just don’t see where visits with these evil people will harm them.
Add to these things the manipulation that takes place is terrible! They tell the girls their mom is crazy —that I’m crazy and that we are harming them! They pit one girl against the other. They manipulate their emotions. They deny the girls food—often one or the other, not both at the same time.
Knowing the signs don’t matter! Seeing the signs doesn’t matter —not in NC, anyway! No one cares!
Susan Burgin Grandmother on January 17, 2020:
My granddaughter age 9 lives with her mother who does not show her any love and affection she is only there so her mother does not have to work gets a free house and child benefit as well as money paid by her dad for her maintenance. She has lived in at least six homes since she was born. She is such a darling but has the poorest existence but nobody knows except me and her dad. We used to share our concerns with her Mum but we cannot now has her Mum grounds her and sends her to her bedroom or threatens to get rid of her cat, that is the only important thing to her. Her Mum spends their money on drugs, alcohol or her boyfriends. Her father and I have taken her to the dentist as her mother does not encourage her to brush her teeth as her mothers teeth are yellow and her gums bleed. She has suffered stomach ache now for two months and on washing her pants recently I have found discharge in them. I have asked her Mum to make an appointment for her at the doctor and offered to take them to the appointment as she has no transport. When I picked my granddaughter up from school on Wednesday which I usually do, so I can make sure she is fed and has an opportunity to talk with me if she has anything that is worrying her she told me she had stomach ache at school. I asked her if she had been to the doctors or was she going soon she said no. I took her to I heart in Barnsley and I was so upset when she told the doctor she has been crying last night because it was hurting her to go to the toilet and she had told her Mum but with no effect. When I reported back to her Mum on the appointment she got angry with my Granddaughter and said she did not know anything about it and she was saying one thing to her and something else to me and the doctors. I think because I was there, her friend from school and there was another girl in the house having her nails done by Isabelle's Mum she had the confidence to say Mum you know I was crying on the toilet. She also got angry when I said that the teacher had told Isabelle's granddad, who picks her up from school on Monday that Isabelle was struggling to see the blackboard so I booked an optician appointment for her or as usual nothing wouls have been done..She said that Isabelle was making it up. How can I protect my granddaughter who deserves better care but her other only cares about spending money on herself and her daughter is an inconvenience. Very very sad Sue
blank on October 20, 2019:
my father picked me up and pined me to my bed for not being respectful and my arm has a bruise on it is this abuse?
To Cayden on October 18, 2019:
Report your parents, keep telling that what happened, and know you do not owe your parents anything. You owe yourself everything to walk away from situations harmful to you, it's never the victim's fault, it's always others wanting to have control over you and your brother. Perhaps your step mother is selfish and cruel, but you do not owe her anything. Don't talk to her and minimize contact and talk to the police, teacher, principle, anyone.
Cayden Peacock on October 03, 2019:
I am being abused at home, and need help. A CPS case is open, but I don't have hope that we will be getting help. I have been beaten severely and have witnessed my parents beat my brother. My brother cuts himself. My step mother has pulled me from school and withdrawn all communication devices. I need help, I don't know what to do and fear my life. She, being my step mom, has threatened my life, held me down while my adoptive father heavily beat me with closed fists.
......... on July 11, 2019:
what if right after the kid gets hit, he goes right back to the mother
Dog lovers on July 11, 2019:
I have a granddaughter that is 7 and she was seen sucking on her GRANDPA's elbow- I thought this was really strange. The grandfather ( MY EX) is 70 and has been known to have a few quirks that make people uneasy. Please tell me if this could be a behavior resulting from sexual abuse? He was abused by brothers in catholic school sexually.
.... on March 28, 2019:
How do send email anomosly
Kitty on March 24, 2019:
My son went went with his paternal grandmother last week and she took him to the ER because I told her he had a really bad rash then I got CPS at my door the day after they're accusing me of abusing him because there were bruises on his butt but it was a rash and now it's a mark so different things were being said and now I have to go to court I have a concrete floor and my son likes to throw himself on the floor when he doesn't get his way I don't want to lose my son for good he can't come home at the moment I would never hurt him in any way but his grandmother's been trying to get custody of him since he's been born what do I do
Chris on March 22, 2019:
If they behavior problems and throw stuff each other when and push caregiver in stuff other kids and not against thing reastan them when not the apartment he beat brother and also dieced walls make thing did it
Herobrine2134 on February 23, 2019:
I've been there
Luckily my parents Divorced, so I will never have to deal with my dad EVER again. I'm 15 now, and I may be coping, but I will stand my ground, stand strong, and stand up against this travesty.
Josh on February 19, 2019:
I was curious if what my parents do to me is physical abuse. They kick and punch me. Thanks for this blog and I will report my parents now that I know that what there doing is not right
firstname.lastname@example.org on February 10, 2019:
Is pushing a child hard, shoving around and pulling a 6 yr old by the arm and swinging them forward in attempt to get them ti speed it up, every morning when hoing to school. At one time I saw the mom slam him to the front door cause he ran outside without a jacket. Very impulsuve. But her husband is a blue collar worker, he gets up at 10 a.m. every morning. His own boss. Doesn't help with his toddler kids, ages 3 and 4. Why doesn't mom pull her husband out of bed to leave to work early and make money? Why take it down on the 6 yr old? Cowardly stupit mom! Is the treatment ge is getting in the mornings child abuse? Not to mention the stepdad yells and scolds the 6 yr old at dinnertime every day! "Eat with your mouth close! Stop moving around!" Could this sad life seen by his 11 yr old sister be considered child abuse?
Precious on February 09, 2019:
I was a call with my childeen & their father. When i heard my daughter scream i asked what was goinb on my son said dad hit her. She is with me for the weekend and has bruises i dont know what to do.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on November 20, 2018:
From what you have said, it definitely sounds like abuse. Document what you can. When you have proof of the abuse, I would report it.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on November 20, 2018:
I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with this. The best thing I can tell you to do is document everything. Take photos, record video.
M1521 on November 13, 2018:
I just wanted to know if this really child abuse since my cousin has a 2 year old and she hits him a lot for dumb reasons and sometimes she even come backs to hit him again like if it’s not enough. She even tells her own child that he’s stupid and she has also wished her own son dead. I really hate not being able to do anything especially since she gets really aggressive if you get in her way and it really scares me. I just want to help my baby cousin because he deserves better than being hit and being told mean things. I know he deserves a better parent that will love and cherish him cause he’s such a ball of sunshine. Could you please help me out.
Sheila Hoover on October 30, 2018:
I have been trying to help my 6 yr old grandbaby from Neglect ans Abuse.Mothers friend throws. My grandbaby into wall..And mother covers it up all week with make up so school officals cant see it.I feel its abuse and her morher is allowing it System..They dont wanna do anything.How many times does she have to get knoced or not fed..Sleeps in floor.And all thus is ok with system..
Me2018 on October 17, 2018:
Ive seen a situation where mom and husband are mentally abusing her kids, and somehow dad ends up paying for it?? Dads trying to gain more custody because of what mom and her husband are doing to them. In wi theyre all pro women and it makes me sick. These kids are acting out in school, wrote in thier journals and even contacted school counselors. Still CPS and thier guardian edlitem wont do a thing to help them.
Women in wi take advantage of everything and screw over the dads bad. Ive seen maybe 3 cases already, where the woman does what she wants and dads have no say.
Wendy on October 12, 2018:
My grandson dad stops him seeing his mum when he feels like it always putting mum down in front of son son always sad when he has to go back to dad just before dad comes to collect him son keeps asking time needs to go to toilet always worrying hes not allowed to say hes missing mum or get upset dad has a go at him tells him things that arnt true like if it wasnt for me u would be eating pot noodles for dinner count yourself lucky ur here u will never live with mum again so get over it always on load speaker when speaks to mum dosent answer calls to mum and son knows tells son he needs to run round block to keep fit joined football training which son loves hes dad said after a couple times u need to practise on ur own in garden this aint good so son felt he at to give it up for dad was upset he loves playing football cple days after dad says to son shame really u gave it up u was getting good at it he play fights hard with him calls him gay if he gets up set he always seems scared of dad took the mick out of son putting him down infront of his mates when he was having friends over to stay sons mates told him to talk to teacher ur dads horrible to u while on holiday with dad and dads girlfriend shared a room together son got woken up by dad n girlfriend girlfriend saying u know u want to rape me rape me son was so upset and angry about it mum couldnt tell dad otherwise he would have a go at son this is emotional abbuse even the judge at court last thursday got angry with dad and said do u know how serious this is and what impact u have on ur son by saturday he breeched order son see mum on sunday and because she kept him a hour later where she didnt have him from the saturday. He let her down last minute he said she aint seeing him yet again he is crazy
anne frank on October 11, 2018:
Me on September 15, 2018:
At my preschool we had a new assistant who frightened the children and was mean. She is gentler with them now but they are frightened of her because she broke trust with them and was mean. My director is requiring me to make the toddlers who are right in potty training to be forced against their will to go potty with her. They scream in terror and cling to me. My director will not listen to what I have to say about it. I feel it is emotional abuse to them. They are terrified and say they are not safe. What should I do?
Benn on September 05, 2018:
My 3 yr old daughter lives with her mam but her mam might just see her 3 times a week the rest of the time my dsughter stays with the mams friend when she is not with me should o be concerned because i feel i should be as my dsughters mam dont have any motherley instincks what so ever i mean how can a mother not want to see her child for almost 4 days really gets my back uo and when i try tslking to the mam all i get is abuse should i be tsking this further or am i making a mountain out of a molehill
Mommmy E on August 19, 2018:
I recently picked up my grandchild from his dad and family home to find bruises on his back how can a toy train cause this ? I’m not burning it I feel there more to it what you think, confused and worried us
Anyomous on August 16, 2018:
I have witnessed children geting abuse first try to help the parent to calm them down not yell or treat there kids mean. Didnt work so keep record all evidence, turn it to police. Always contact police how to handle situation. Prayers for all kids.
Leela on August 06, 2018:
Has been abuse by Cps and father and mother. Long story but feel that laws need to be changed! How x-drug dealer with assault on pregnant women and other domestic violence charges. After being raised by her grandparents for 2yrs. Because mother messed up on drugs. No father for 2 yrs mother has got arrested Cps gets involved and then finds dad willing gives baby to dad with violence in background and he takes that to full control cuts is out for almost 1/2 yr then allows us to see her. Only to find out he just got arrested for aggravated assault on child bail out the Cps has let him keep child what’s wrong with our system?
Leah on July 13, 2018:
I was asked by a child of 10 to help her. She suffers neglect and abuse and i tried so hard to help save her. I went to everyone asking for help. I never ever found anyone to help her cps nspcc mp no one. They always pass you back to cps and since cps were involved her treatment worsened. Cps name me to parents so i cannot see her. Its heart breaking not giving up just i cannot find anyone to help. Hope you make it baby girl love you and always will.
Unknown on June 05, 2018:
The child is 2 and can tell ,what are the signs for a 2 yr old
Hunter Dove on May 26, 2018:
Great site thanks I need the help.
Joe Brown on May 08, 2018:
I'm a father of 4, the youngest conceived in another relationship. My children's mother and her very own mother dislikes each other, the grandmother is controlling, money hungry and sadistic. I helped raise her other two children before we had any, watched over them as if they were mine and dreaded the fact Everytime I thought of her mother. Now the mother is incarcerated and signed over temporary custody without my consent. My life's been a living hell. My children are being abused physically and mentally. When I visit the police is called for no reason, I'm getting p.p.o's brought on me for no reason. I'm told by the school I can't inquiry about their academics and police says I'll be arrested if I do. There's no Court order disallowing me to see my children. I've completed parenting class, drug screening, anger management and phycological evaluation but still do not have my kids. This is the third time someone in her family abused my children. The courts seem to allow this to happen, I have verbal proof from neighbors who know what's going on but I still don't have any rights according to the police it just go to court and they give me the run around SOMEONE HELP AND TIRED FATHER I fear I might hurt someone if this persists
Wendy on March 26, 2018:
My grandson lives with dad he comes to see mum every other weekend half in school holidays
He's wanted to live with mum since he went to dad but then didnt when got him play station all the top stuff then he said he did want to come back hes 9 years now and he knows what he wants when he goes back to dad after leaving me hes dad makes a big point of saying whats up with you he wont say what's wrong coz dad will go mad at him he said to him that if ur sad about ur mum ask her why ur with me ur lucky ur living with me ur get fed pot noodles at ur mum's bought u some new trousers coz ur a good kid but I don't know now the way u are also mum was talking on snap chat to son dad found out and delited mum so he couldn't talk to her some times if he dont tell hes dad whats going on he tiggled hes neck then does it hard and harder so it hurts him and he has to tell hes dad this is so worrying
Julie on March 22, 2018:
Question a child goes to a home daycare they go 2 half days a week and are in time out at least 1 time a week is this a warning sign? The girl was talking please respond. Thank you
hannah on March 09, 2018:
is it ok for my dad to yell at me and throw me on the my bed and beat me with his hands until i cry?
Simon on February 21, 2018:
Is it neglect to withhold food as a punishment? In the case of a child not completing chores or not studying.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on February 01, 2018:
That is actually fairly common behavior for that age. I have known several children who have done this. Maybe ask why he doesn't want to use the bathroom at home. It could be nothing.
Darlene Mahoney on January 27, 2018:
How do I report a father that has my grandson full time. My grandson is six years old. Is trouble going number BM he has Been holding it in and going to the bath room at school.. I have my grandson on weekend and mess on in all his under wear in one weekend. What do I do.
Alex on January 21, 2018:
I want to start off by saying that I am 23 years old and I still live at my dad's house. I am attending ASU for a major in Sustainability and don't plan on leaving home until I start my career path. That being said, I have been reading up on what is normal, as well as, not normal behavior between people in all types of relationships as I was never taught and had many questions without having anyone that I felt comfortable enough to ask. The older I get, I notice a lot more than I did when I was little. When I was little, I was emotionally and physically neglected by my narcissistic mother (I don't remember her much in my childhood), my father was always busy and had a lot of anger issues, he would release his frustrations and impatience on my siblings and I through toy throwing at our walls, belt whippings and belittling when we needed the most help, if and when he was outside of his office. On my sixteenth birthday my mom told me that her ex-fiance had died and that maybe she could get money from his will because she thought that I was his daughter and not my fathers daughter since she had slept with him around my parents wedding night. My mother did a lot of questionable things and when I cried out for her help she would always turn it around onto me and ask why I was such a hateful and ungrateful child.
I, honestly, dwelled more on those things internally than I had originally believed. After reading more on these topics I've noticed more and more of some things that I find questionable yet I have this internal struggle of speaking up.
My dad is a stay-at-home and working father as my mother has never been there for any of us. He works hard and has never abandoned his family (though, I question why they thought it was smart to get together and have children in the first place... It wasn't at all, most likely just hormonal attraction that blinded them... As I've noticed that they never had any conversations for the 10 years that they were together... No conversations between us either, we would all stay at home in our rooms left to our imagination). ANYWHO, my dad is huge on self-improvement and has begun listening to audio recordings to try to become a better person. He always preaches his views and I always listen because that is what a good person is supposed to do and I obviously owe my dad my life. After he learned so much about self-improvement he came to me and confronted me then told me that I had to forgive him and forget whatever hard feelings we had in the past and that it was in the past because it isn't productive to bring it up. I thought this was unfair of him to say, but I am extremely grateful for the responsibility that he took on as a single father and I don't really feel like I have a choice since I am so reliant on him it's also good to forgive and forget (according to every self-improvement and religious book), so I told him that I forgave him. I figured that it's whatever, I didn't really remember what he did anyways...
Then when he took me skydiving a week after my 23rd birthday, because he is finally getting enough money to buy things. I hadn't brought my I.D. or my phone because I didn't think to bring them as I never bring my stuff anywhere (I don't go anywhere but school, work and church) and I was incredibly nervous. At the skydiving office I discovered that I needed it in order to fill out some release forms for skydiving. I told my dad and he said out loud in front of everyone, "You always have to bring your I.D. everywhere you go, how could you forget? How many times have I told you to bring your I.D. everywhere you go? What is wrong with you?" and he continued repeating the same thing until I eventually got my ID pic sent to my dads phone. SO I recognized this as being condescending, because 1) I was aware that I needed it after I saw the forms. I didn't need him to tell me out loud, nonetheless, continue talking down to me repetitively in front of everyone. 2) It wasn't anyones fault, it was an honest mistake. I literally never go anywhere and just didn't want to lose anything important. I left it in my car because I use my car to go to school, work and church. I never have a purse on me, I don't go shopping other than for groceries, but I don't need it. 3) we had text my sister on his phone to have her snap a pic for me, there was nothing else we could do, the "damage" was done. Yet he continued to talk down to me and I DIDN'T SPEAK UP FOR MSYELF.
I noticed that I felt as though I had no voice and I don't know why it hit me so hard, but I began to silently tear up while it was happening. I just want to understand how to handle the situation correctly because I felt as though I didn't deserve that. But him & I never communicate so I didn't know how.
I'm just... So lost, confused and i'm supposed to be an adult. I want to move on with my life, but something about my family life is holding me back. I genuinely feel bad and guilty, I do love my dad and I know he struggles with supporting us, as well as, with his own life that he has to deal with. I just don't know what to do. Him and my brother are the kind that think a woman's place is in the kitchen and cleaning. He also believes that I should get the easiest degree just to get out of university and out of his house. I just feel like I'm such a bother and I don't want to bring that emotional responsibility onto him because I don't want it to bring him down or be another thing that he has to worry about.
I just hurt and I don't know what to do or if I'm just being a stupid silly emotional girl that needs to grow up and move on. I want to address the issue and to understand it in a mature way, but I don't know how when I feel like my voice isn't worth hearing... I want to be positive and I do want to move on but my dad just... accidentally triggers these... emotional break downs of me just wanting to self destruct. Even though I am very aware that self destruction is not productive at all and that it's a waste of time, as my dad told me when I tried to tell him that he hurt my feelings. Which, I agree and yet again am confused by the message. I thought about suicide my entire life, like everyone does, but when I told my dad he told me, "only pathetic losers think like that" or when I told my dad I wanted to throw up my food because I ate 2 donuts he told me to not use the trash can. Maybe I'm just looking for emotional attention and being pitiful? It feels important to me because this is my reality, but maybe I just need to deal.
Tristan on January 06, 2018:
Is it abuse for a parent to give a child a black eye
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on August 27, 2014:
bbesidehimselfDADA-- If the cause of the trauma was the bird, maybe sit down and talk with your daughter. Even though she is two, she is old enough to kind of understand most of what you talk to her about. Ask her simple questions like, "does the bird upset you?" "are you scared of the bird?" At 18 months of age, my daughter and I ran into her doctor at a store, and even though she hadn't seen the doctor in almost six months, she recognized her, and instantly started crying. Toddlers understand and remember a lot more than most people would think. My fear, in your situation, is that the mother is reinforcing those fears regarding your daughter. Asking your daughter questions like, "Is DADA nice?" may elicit some interesting insights. Kids are like parrots. They hear things and repeat them.
bbesidehimselfDADA on August 21, 2014:
Ive had my daughter sun, wed and fri 1-8 consistently for over a year* noticed I left the days out
besidehimselfDADA on August 21, 2014:
Ive been through a teeth pulling custody battle im a father who just wants both his daughters parents supportive in her life and ive faught hard to make sure im apart of it, hired a lawyer not to represent me but educate me and did everything hands on. I have recently been experiencing a beside myself heartbreaking experience. My 2 yr old daughter has gone from being overly excited and screaming DADA! Upon my arrival every time, to where the last 3pick ups she has been kicking screaming and running from me. I am beside myself but I believe I know why, just dont know how to reverse it. Last visit before drop off she was bit by my bird, no big deal dad was there to save her and kiss the owie. However im not primary caregiver and was in the process of taking her home. Her mother excessively pointed out her owie and dramatized it. The very next pick up my daughter started this behavior. Ive had my daughter 1-8 consistently for over a year and she has always been fine around me I was about to start getting over nights but now I dont know if its best or how to resolve this behavior. After we leave moms 10 minutes later she is fine all smiles and DADA! do I just tough through it and force her to leave with me I dont want to traumatise her this is breaking my heart when the initial pick up and separation is this difficult?
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on May 12, 2014:
Johne--I'm hardly an expert, and don't claim to be able to help anyone out with their problems. I do hope you seek out the help that you are looking for.
Johne434 on May 11, 2014:
hello!,I like your writing so much! share we keep up a correspondence extra about your article on AOL? I require an expert on this space to resolve my problem. May be that is you! Looking ahead to look you. kkeedbbgcfed
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on February 12, 2014:
Anna--If it is just the little brother causing the bruises, it is unlikely that you can show evidence of abuse. I would talk to a counselor at your child's school, or another person that can help you get to the root of the problem, and can give you information concerning laws where you live. It seems as if your son is being neglected when he is at his father's, and that there isn't consistent discipline in that environment if the little brother is hurting his big brother and nothing is being done about it.
Anna on February 11, 2014:
I need advice, I don't no what to do, my sons father and I have shared custody of our 4 year old. We generally get along, very civil. Our son has no problems with myself and is always happy to see his father or talk on the phone to his father, but the past month roughly our son doesn't want to go to his fathers, he is literally forced out the door most times kicking and screaming because he doesn't want to go to his dad's house, although it brings me to tears to not be allowed to say no he doesn't want to go, he must go to his fathers. My son has started coming home with bruises and grazes on his lower middle back (I have photos and dates) 2 separate occasions, on 1 occasion he has come home with a mark under his eye (also have photo and date) and on 4 occasions he has come home with child size bite marks on his body (mainly his back) (also have photos and dates). I have asked his father every time what has happened and I get the whole brothers will be brothers, or I don't no what happened, it wasn't there before, or he fell off the slide or grazed himself on a pool, or I get 2 different stories because he obviously hasn't been watching our son when he is injured. I ask our son every time if he had fun at daddy's, I always stay positive and ask passive questions and he replies with "no aron*(his younger brother) hurt me", or "I don't like lara*(sons fathers girlfriend) she is yucky", or he tells me nothing and cuddles me constantly and only tells me I love you mummy and does this I love you thing we always do when I put him to bed. He comes back from his fathers always looking so dirty like he hasn't been bathed in 2 weeks, I always supply the clothes because his father has clothes that are 2x too small for our son and refuses to buy anymore clothes. I just don't no what to do, friends that have seen it all have said to stop visits but that's not a possibility according to the courts.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on January 08, 2014:
sleepless-- that can be incredibly hard. My best suggestion is to document every incident that your son tells you about, including photographing any bruises. I would also suggest taking him to a counselor of your own, who may be more willing to listen to him.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on January 08, 2014:
Juanita-- I would suggest getting in touch with the father's command, or perhaps a chaplain at the base he is stationed at. I don't know that there is much you can do, since you are not a parent or guardian. You could petition for guardianship, perhaps even ask the father.
sleepless nights on January 08, 2014:
I can relate to several of these posts. My son visits his dad and step mom even though there have been several reports of abuse. I don't understand why he has to suffer. He has told but then he gets shamed for talking and they call him a liar. They have cinvinced him he has a problem telling the truth. Also they take him to a counselor who believes the adult over the child.
Juanita on January 07, 2014:
I HAVE A GRANDDAUGHTER WHO LIVED WITH HER FATHER SISTER.THE FATHER IS IN THE ARMY.HE SAID THAT HE SENDS HIS SISTER 300 HUNDRED DOLLAR A MONTH FOR MY GRAND DAUGHTER.BUT MY GRAND DAUGHTER DOESN"T EVEN HAVE DESCENT CLOTHES TO WEAR TO SCHOOL LAST YEAR SHE DID"NT HAVE A JACKET.SHE HA 12 CAVITIES IN HER MOUTH.AND HAVE"NT BEEN TO A DENTIST YET.IT HAS BEEN ALMOST A YEAR SINCE SHE WENT TO A DOCTOR.SHE IS 16YS OLD.AND I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHO DO I FILE A REPORT WITH.BECAUSE WHENEVER I TRY AND REPORT IT TO THE DFCS.THEY SAY THAT THEY CAN"T DO ANYTHING.BECAUSE SHE IS A MILITARY KID.IS THERE ANYONE THAT I COULD REPORT TO ABOUT MY GRAND DAUGHTER TREATMENTS FROM HER AUNT.COULD I TAKE HER TO THE CHILD SUPPORT. SO SHE COULD GET HER OWN CHILD SUPPORT SO SHE CAN DR. CARE AND GO TO THE DENTIST.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on July 08, 2013:
The best, and only, thing you can do is what you are doing. Talking it out with someone who understands, and can help you find ways to deal with what you have been through. It is terrible how much of an impact childhood abuse plays on our adult lives. I wish you all the best.
Betty on May 24, 2013:
i went through the same abuse as a child and the only thing is can say is that mentally I'm a wreck as an adult I don't know my worth I don't trust anyone and a personal relationships fail every time I don't even know where to began with the repeated psychiatrist
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on May 18, 2012:
It depends on how well you know the child and her family. You could talk to another member of the family about it, you could make a follow up call to DCFS, but I caution you on this, because unless you have "protected status" (health care personnel, teacher, day care provider, etc), you could be sued by the family for making accusations. If the child is ever at your home again, document the marks and bruises, and take her to a police station to make a report.
Jill on May 17, 2012:
You have to be vigilant and protect all children. My daughter's friend was over swimming in our pool, and I noticed while she was changing that she had belt buckle shaped bruises on her labia and thighs. When I asked her about them she said she had been "spanked" by both her parents. I called DCFS but to my knowledge nothing has been done. What more should I do?
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on April 30, 2012:
tiffany-- Thank you for sharing. It really is hard to break the patterns we were taught as children, even when we know how destructive they are. All you can do is fight your way through it, and hope to be better to your children than your parents were to you.
Tiffany Delite from Wichita, KS on April 26, 2012:
i was abused as a child, and i vowed to break the cycle in my own family. i have been to years and years of counseling and therapy along with much prayer and soul searching. inevitably, there are times i find myself falling back into old patterns/habits i learned as a child being abused but i refuse to get stuck in them. this is such a horrible, life changing event. blessings.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on April 17, 2012:
ConcernedMom1-- Not sure if you are the same person as above, but document everything. There are groups around that will act as an advocate for you, and they may be able to offer you more help, more information, or ways to remedy the situation.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on April 17, 2012:
Concerned mother-- Depending on the state you live in, you may have options. You could get a temporary order of protection against his father, and then you would not be in contempt of court, but that is only temporary. During that time, I would suggest he see a therapist who specializes in these sorts of things, so you have some verification to your fears. Make sure you document each incident, and your child's behavior.
ConcernedMom1 on April 16, 2012:
I have reported abuse of my son and nothing has been done so far. Taken him to a counselor and document everything. He has to go back to his fathers until something is done, why do these children not have a voice even though there is proof and still a judge can continue to allow him in an abusive environment?
Concerned mother on April 16, 2012:
My 3 year old has showed many of these signs of abuse, I have reported to no end yet the judge says he Has to go back to his fathers home (court ordered temporary parenting plan) Dcs has been involved, even Carl Perkins. The father recently married a woman who has to be seen for a sexual addiction. What do I do and where do I turn? Please someone help! I feel helpless because I have to send him or will be in contempt of court. I don't know what to do
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on March 12, 2012:
saba-- Are you serious? Your dad is starving you because he's angry?? Get help!!! Call someone, send a message over the internet to someone who can help you!!! What he is doing to you is not right!!
saba on March 12, 2012:
hi anna, the stories here are harrowing. Mine isn't as bad. but my dad is starving us at the moment. because he's angry. Your article was written with such clarity,calmness, and empathy. You sound like a very kind and compassionate person. Good on you and thank you for your kindness through this site. I wish you all the best. Peace, and Love to you and to all the commenters, love saba. xx.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on January 11, 2012:
Ginger-- Your story made me cry. I am so sorry for all that you had to endure. As if the abuse weren't enough, people who should have been there to protect you, turned a blind eye. I am happy to hear that you have overcome what had been done to you. I know it can be hard to overcome such a thing.
ANewConservative-- I agree. Emotional/verbal abuse is often overlooked, but in a lot of cases, it is a sign of further abuses, and can be a sign of future abuse. It is definitely not something to be taken lightly.
ANewConservative from Chicago on January 10, 2012:
I'm glad someone else took the time to touch on the importance of emotional/verbal abuse. I often feel like its victims are the "forgotten abused" as it commonly takes the form of seemingly harmless statements on their own. More people need to recognize emotional abuse for what it is.
Ginger Gillenwater from Ohio on January 07, 2012:
Great article! Thank you for writing and posting it and kudos to all of the commentors sharing bits and pieces of themselves. I've written a couple of hubs on sexual abuse, speaking out about my own experiences a little bit while providing tips, etc. It is so incredibly important for adults to be educated on the signs of all forms of abuse. While I've focused on the sexual abuse in my own hubs, for now, it never stopped there. The fact that adults knew about it and swept it under the rug in hopes it would go away led to 2-3 more years of abuse for me. The subject was a forbidden subject in my home. It came up the second time when I was 13 because my best friend became worried when she found out I was self-harming myself, so she told her grandmother who told other adults who cared about me...not even related to me, but cared enough to talk to my mom. My mom acted to them as if she knew nothing about the abuse. When my mom talked to me about it she said, "That explains a lot." She didn't cry because she already knew, but made comments that I'm sure were made in hopes I had forgotten that I knew she knew. In addition, my mom was always hitting me with something. She had to be pulled off of me once because she was on top of me, pulling out handfuls of my hair, simply because I became frustrated with my algebra homework. Now, at almost 32 years old and a married mother of two, she will tell me that she loves her 15 cats just as much as she loves my brother and I. Truthfully, it doesn't hurt me anymore and my 26 year old brother is started to come around to where I am. He and I have each other, we have in-laws that adore us, and we are both supported.
She was more emotionally abusive to my brother, while she was emotionally and physically abusive to me. The fact she more or less allowed me to be sexually abused because she didn't want to upset my dad's family or ruin her already rocky marriage to my dad because of it, she neglected me through not doing something about it. Instead, she brought it up after my grandmother told her and blamed me...probably to get me to keep my mouth shut. So the fact that she loves her 15 cats - that she loves so much she keeps them shut up in the master bathroom of her "no pets" rental home - as much as my brother and I...I don't care anymore because I have so many others who love me. Of course, it saddens me a little when I see women my age having close relationships with their mothers because I know mine will never be that way. I've wanted it, but I know it'll never happen.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on August 08, 2011:
opusmith-- I agree with you all the way around. I don't think there is a cruel enough punishment for the people that rape and abuse children. A few years in jail is a slap on the wrist in comparison to the life-altering damage the abuse has done to the children involved. You sound like a strong person, considering the way you are able to talk about what has happened to you. It takes great courage to stand up to all that. I do agree with you, that in an age where we can go to the moon, perform surgery with robots, and carry an advanced computer in the palm of our hands, we should be able to solve more important problems than we have managed to do so far. If all that energy that was put into creating cell phone apps, destructive weapons, and other things was put into solving world hunger, ending disease, or protecting children, this world would be a far better place.
opusmith on August 08, 2011:
Thank you. I find it hard speaking out about the abuse, but I know if I don't then it will always be 'their secret,' and I no longer wish to carry it as such. I kept a diary from the age of six and in my early twenties I finally plucked up the courage to take my father and uncle to court for the sexual abuse. I thought it would be too late so many years later, but I spoke with someone who assured me that my diaries would convict them, and they did. Every beating, every assault from the age of six went in there, it is also when I learnt to draw, sadly most of the drawings then were horrific. My father had 18 years and served 12, my uncle had 12 years and served all 12. I was horrified that father had been let out early, I will never be let out of the nightmares that still haunt me every single day and night; so why should he have been let out, ever, our legal system makes me so cross. If a judge deems a person deserves 18 years, then they should serve 18 years, none of this good behaviour rubbish. They showed me no mercy. There are so many things in this world I just cannot comprehend. We are capable of sending man to the moon yet we have millions of starving and homeless people on this planet. We have robots who can perform precision laser surgery yet we are unable to spot abuse of children, or when we do we have to jump through hoops to protect the children. We have wonderful caring men and women who dedicate their lives to helping people yet the people we elect into power are often cold and cruel and heartless with only their own agenda to follow. If those of us who may not be politically minded but who have love and compassion, patience and understanding, ran the countries worldwide then there would be no war, no famine, no child abuse. Leaders would still be elected to care for their countries economy, but the peace keepers of this world, those who nurture their own children and care for others, they are the ones who should take charge. Sadly those thoughts are only fit to be assigned to the realms of fairy stories; but I can dream.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on August 07, 2011:
JY-- I had considered appealing to the "powers that be" to have the ads put back on, but not sure if it would change things.
opusmith-- No need to apologize. As I read this, my heart ached and I started to cry. The level of your abuse and torture is truly heartbreaking. No one should ever have to go through what you and your family had to go through. I am glad you were able to break away from that pattern of abuse that often continues into adulthood. You are a strong woman for doing so. I know it will take time to break down all those walls you had to build to protect yourself, but the right man will be willing to work, and willing to wait. I wish you nothing but the best, and I do hope your wish does come true some day. A world where children are not beaten, yelled at or abused in any way should be normal, but sadly, it is not.
opusmith on August 06, 2011:
I wish something like this had been around when I was a child.
I was a regular 'visitor' to our local hospital as a child. My legs, arms jaw nose and more, were either broken or fractured on a regular basis. Yet NO ONE helped me. My father would line my three siblings and I up and start by hitting my eldest sister, as soon as she cried out he would turn to me, then my youngest sister, then my brother until finally owe had to stand and watch him beat and often rape, our mother.
I told our local vicar and my punishment for 'lying' (I had three broken ribs, a fractured ankle and a broken knee at the time), was to be put in a 'special place for naughty and wilful children.'
Everyone was afraid of father, no one stood up to him and protected us. The signs of abuse were evident on us all, yet we were left to fend for ourselves.
I always tried, from a very very young age to protect us all, including mother, until at the age of nine (my ninth birthday) she 'gave' me to my father and uncle. She said it was to protect the others. I was sacrificed to their cruelty and depravity in order to stop the violence on her and my siblings because she deemed me 'the strong one.'
I am now ending my third abusive marriage but have finally met someone who would never raise his voice let alone a fist.
I was verbally abused and told I was nothing and no one and was the ugliest person to inhabit this world.
My new partner tells me I am special and beautiful; I am yet to relax enough to trust him or believe his words, but I am getting there.
As a mum of the two most beautiful perfect children, I could not comprehend for one second hurting them. They are the happiest most polite, truly loving children I have ever met and friends often tease about swapping them for their surly teenagers.
If I could have one wish in this lifetime, it would be that no child is ever yelled at, hit, humiliated, raped or abused in any way for all eternity.
That society still turns a blind eye is the saddest part for me.
If I suspect a child of being neglected or abused in any way, I will not hesitate in reporting the abuser. I have on several occasions, from seeing the parent belting a child in the supermarket to reporting a now ex friend who told me how she would wrap her children in a duvet to belt them so that the bruised did not show;-(
If we are all brave enough to stand up for a child's rights and give them a voice, then together we can stamp out this horrendous needles act of cruelty.
My apologies for this being so long.
John Young from Florence, South Carolina on July 12, 2011:
I also had two with ads taken off on similar articles. But like you said, it's too important. They stay.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on June 23, 2011:
events-- It really depends on the situation in terms of custody. In some states, you can give someone guardianship without removing rights from parents. Abuse of any kind is a real tragedy. I am glad that things are being investigated, and I hope things work out for the child.
someconcerned-- Unless there is a way to document the abuse, it is hard to prove, and hard to get anyone to do anything about it. You can call, make claims and accusations, but without proof, there is little that can be done. I do hope that a solution can be found. Be cautious about reporting it, though. Some states have laws that are meant to protect the parents from fraudulent accusations, and they can turn around and sue you. I wish I could give you better information, and a little more hope. Find a way to document it, or talk to the child.
someconcerned on June 23, 2011:
my grandchildren have been abuse in ways that it is really hard to see but i have been with them alot and the mother will yell at them and hit them and their attudutes have changed so much. they are afrid of her her saying is they better be afraid of me then love me
what is wrong with this picture?? i have call child abuse hotline and they say without actually signs that they could not help and other people have seen this also and they will not do anything???????
now she will not let us see them at all
eventsyoudesign from Nashville, Tennessee on March 23, 2011:
Great article. Many people treat their pets better than their own kids. I remember seeing abuse in some of my childhood friends. My friends grand daughter has suffered sexual abuse by two different people. It is finally being investigated by the police. The girls mother was not going to do anything about the nine year old daughters situation. My friend, the grandmother, and her son, the girls father, had to intervene. The girls other grandmother works for the child welfare advocacy and yet she is not willing to stand up for her own grand daughter. In fact, the girls mother recently gave her mother custody of the girl. I thought both parents had to consent to this before hand. Maybe not?
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on January 11, 2011:
crismegirot-- I am glad you found this useful.
sligobay from east of the equator on December 22, 2010:
Happy Holidays. I linked your Hub as a resource in my new Hub. It was very helpful.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on September 29, 2010:
Vanmil-- Thank you very much. It is amazing how some things just go unnoticed, and the effects they really have.
Vanmil on September 29, 2010:
Fantastic hub, very well written. I am particularly fond of your addition of "socially accepted/overlooked" examples of abuse, the warning signs and likely behavioural patterns to emerge in young victims. No doubt such abuses are very wide spread, and regarding emotional abuse, as a teenager I found that almost all my friends had similar experiences to varying degrees. Very sad and the warning signs were clear, afterall, it is not normal in the community I grew up in, for 14 year olds to be out past 10pm on a school night, clustered in large groups including the company of near adult men. Emotional abuse leads to a need to find comfort outside of ones home, and this is often not a safe place for a teenage girl to be seeking such.
Beth100 from Canada on September 03, 2010:
Anna Marie, it's been republished!!! :) Thank you!!
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on September 02, 2010:
Beth-- It can take a little while. I had an issue before that I needed the HubPages staff to look at. It took a few days for them to get back to me.
Beth100 from Canada on September 01, 2010:
Thanks Anna Marie. I sent the email last night and am still waiting (fingers drumming on the keyboard....)
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on August 31, 2010:
Beth-- Yeah, disabled ads. Not sure why HP and Google would flag it. Contact the HP staff and see if they can look at it for you, and see what the issue is.
Beth100 from Canada on August 31, 2010:
Anna Marie, did you disable the google ads? My flag is for both the google and HP violations. Any ideas on how to get around this? I don't want to unpublish it -- it's too important. I don't mind at all!!! I'll go and link your hub into those ones. :)
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on August 31, 2010:
Beth-- I found a couple and put links on this Hub. Hope you don't mind!!!
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on August 31, 2010:
Beth-- Mine was flagged by google for adult content, and my ads were removed. Don't care, though. It's important information, so it stays.
Beth100 from Canada on August 31, 2010:
Well, looks like my hub has been unpublished by the Team. I'm not sure if I will republish it...I have not had any complaints regarding this hub since I published it. Let me think things through and I'll find another one of my hubs that is pertinent to abuse. I'll let you know.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on August 31, 2010:
Beth-- No need to ask permission. Give me a few minutes and I will check yours out, and link it to mine as well, if that's ok??
Beth100 from Canada on August 31, 2010:
Anna Marie, I have linked your hub, if you provide me permission, with mine. Together, we can make a difference.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on August 30, 2010:
Beth-- It is something close to my heart, as well. Having seen the devastating affects it has on children breaks my heart. I just hope the information I put up helps at least one child. If it does even that, I know I have made a difference.
Beth100 from Canada on August 30, 2010:
Very well written and thorough. I applaud you in writing this to help educate those around you. Thank you for writing on child abuse -- it is a subject that is close to my heart.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on June 30, 2010:
Bacs-- Glad I can do something to bring the issue of all forms of abuse to light.
Support Med.-- Thank you very much!!
Support Med. from Michigan on June 11, 2010:
Thoroughly presented.-------- I found an interesting route to your hub and I must commend you for a job well done. Voted-up/rated.
Bacs O'Bannon on April 04, 2010:
Thank you for writing this, and for being abuse out of the darkness. I appreciate it very much.
Anna Marie Bowman (author) from Florida on September 20, 2009:
AIDY-- Thank you. I appreciate the comments. I completely agree.
Am I dead, yet? on September 19, 2009:
Thank you for sharing this. We have to be an advocate for children. They are the innocent. Well informed hub. I know these type of abuses all to well.